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The Owen County Rebels in one week felt both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Unfortunately, the latter came Saturday night in the 31st District Championship game.
On Wednesday night, the Rebels needed a pair of Blake Lewis free throws to take a 34-32 lead with just under five seconds remaining. Then they had to watch as a Henry County three-pointer just missed in order to advance to the championship game.
Jordan Shelton said the game was reminiscent of last year’s 8th Region All “A” Classic championship game when the Wildcats hit a buzzer-beater to defeat the Rebels after they had taken the lead with less than five seconds to play.
Owen County led 15-14 at halftime and 25-21 at the end of the third quarter.
Zach Ripy led Owen County with eight points while Shelton and Lewis each finished with seven points. Michael Colligan had four points while Sawyer Williams and Stone Osborne each had three points. Kyle Kelly finished with two points.
The Rebels’ win set up a showdown with Gallatin County. The Wildcats advanced to the championship game thanks to a 73-59 victory over Carroll County.
A large crowd filled the gym at Gallatin County High School Saturday night to witness the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. Owen County won the first, but Gallatin County took the next two, including an overtime thriller in the opening round of the 8th Region All “A” Classic.
Ties would again be the theme in this latest match-up.
The score was tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter. Both teams held small leads throughout the quarter but neither was able to keep any sort of momentum.
In the second quarter, the Rebels opened up leads of 16-11 and 22-16, but both times the Wildcats came back. The only quarter that ended without the score being tied was the second as Owen County managed to take a 26-23 lead into the locker room.
The Wildcats wasted no time evening things up as Bryce Carlton hit a three within the first 30 seconds of the second half to again tie the score at 26-26.
The rest of the game went back and forth. The rest of regulation saw eight lead-changes and six ties. It appeared Gallatin County would take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Colligan hit a lay-up as time expired to knot things up at 37-37 heading into the final eight minutes.
Owen seemed poised to win in regulation.
Osborne drained a pair of free throws with 1:31 left in the game to give the Rebels a 45-43 lead. After a Wildcat miss and a Williams rebound, Osborne was again fouled with 25.4 seconds remaining.
This time, the sophomore was unable to make the front end of the one-and-one and Gallatin County came away with the rebound and a chance to play for a final shot. Gallatin County’s coach, Jon Jones, played for the tie as Kristian Morgan drove into the lane and hit a short jumper to tie the score at 45-45 with 5.5 seconds to play.
Owen County got the ball to half-court before it was knocked out of bounds with less than a second left on the clock. After a timeout, Lewis lobbed the ball under the basket, but Williams was unable to punch it in and the game was headed to overtime.
In the extra period, the Rebels jumped out to a 49-45 lead with 2.36 remaining. The lead was the biggest for either team since Owen County led 35-32 in the third quarter.
Gallatin County responded as they ran off the next five points to take a 50-49 lead with 1:24 left. Owen County’s final lead of the night came a few seconds later when Colligan connected on a field goal, giving the Rebels a brief 51-50 edge.
Gallatin County regained the lead and Wilcat Zac Jones hit a pair of free throws, making it 54-51.
The Rebels had one final chance to stay in the game but were not able to take advantage as they committed one of five overtime turnovers with less than 10 seconds left on the clock to seal their fate.
The Wildcats made two more free throws and a last second basket to win the game 58-51.
While Colligan led the Rebels with 16 points, Osborne finished with nine points. Ripy and Lewis each had eight while Williams finished with six points. Shelton ended the night with four points.
Williams, Ripy and Shelton were named to the all-tournament team.
The Rebels will now prepare for a first-round eighth-region tournament game with Simon Kenton Thursday at Henry County High School. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m., following the Shelby County versus North Oldham contest.